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Nightrage’s (NR) third full-length attempt finds the band in great shape. New comers, screamer Jimmie Strimell and drummer Alex Svenningson along with bassist Henric Carlsson (with NR since 2005’s “Descent Into Chaos”) blend well with Marios’s writing style and provide the fans of melodic death metal with another solid and highly promising release.
Musically, after two stellar releases, I think those who are familiar with Nightrage’s sound, should know what to expect out of “A New Disease Is Born”. That’s equal doses of hard hitting Swedish death metal riffs and beautiful melodies, that I guarantee you will stay with the listener long after the album has finished (telling you really, to hit repeat). In addition, this time around the band seems to draw influences from the American metalcore scene as well. However, they do so in the most elegant way, blending these influences well with the Swedish death metal core sound that Nightrage knows beyond doubt extremely well.
Marios Iliopoulos, the founder of Nightrage, is again responsible for most of the material on this album with a little help coming from his mates on bass and vocals. He has an amazing sense for aggressive music and melody and noone blends these two better than the riff-master of NR himself. Songs like “Reconcile”, “Scars” and “Surge of Pity” best illustrate the aforementioned style of NR. Marios’s stellar guitar work is evident from the beginning. He masterfully blends his heavy riffing with melodious lines, acoustic parts, incredible twin guitar work and astonishing solos!
Furthermore, the album features the first ever video made for a Nightrage song and that is for “Scathing”. A video professionally made by Bob Katsionis showing the band playing their song.
Strimell, as the new vocalist replacing Tomas Lindberg, will surely take notice. He is a solid vocalist with a fine range that can effectively cover the demands of Nightrage’s material. Both his brutal and clean vocal lines are captured wonderfully and suit the album’s style perfectly!
The production, this time done at Hansen Studions in Denmark, is outstanding. It allows all instruments and the vocal lines to shine, giving them room to breath and making the end–result sounding professional, clean, heavy and fine sounding! Two thumbs up for the production NR.
In my opinion, there are too many great songs in this one, as it’s also the case with Nightrage’s first two albums. There is no filler material, no songs that shouldn’t be there cause they don’t fit, and no sections that sound poor or simply are not solid. And that’s very rare in our days. One of the reasons that I have great respect for Marios and his band, Nightrage is due to that exactly. He always makes sure that the material within a NR release is based on quality-oriented criteria and that only. On that note I’d have loved to finish this review with the songs that stand out, but really in that case I’d have to list all the songs.
Surely, Nighrage is one of the most reliable, quality-oriented bands in their niche and hopefully those interested in the Swedish death metal scene know this much by now. Make sure you grab your copy of this distinguished melodic death metal record that Marios and Co put out in 2007!
Nightrage had joined the ranks of a fabulous melodic death metal band within a small slice of time because of two great albums. With the help of Gus G. and former At The Gates singer Tomas Lindberg, the supergroup portrayed their golden form of Gothenburg in 2003 with "Sweet Vengeance," and "Decent Into Chaos" in 2005. Nightrage seemed to have everything going well until Gus. G and Lindberg suddenly left the group. With the band's core members gone, it became questionable whether or not Nightrage could produce quality music, but they quickly bounced back in 2007 with a fresh line-up and a new album. Though it isn't a comeback of the ages, Nightrage's "A New Disease Is Born" proves the band can function as a whole without the members they once had.
Beside the clear Gothenburg overtone, there has been a musical evolution in Nightrage's identity that blossoms throughout this record in several unusual and unique ways. Shredders Marios Iliopoulos and Constantine hurl a series of catchy melodic death riffs that exploit the nature of Nightrage's Gothenburg roots with clever solos and harmonies. Unlike Nightrage's first two full-length releases, "A New Disease Is Born" captures a vast assortment of multiple riff changes throughout the album's total duration. Experimental elements are brought into play when the heavy riffing subsides, and clean guitar bridges take over the melodic tendencies into something much softer and prominent. The only bothersome condition of this release is the repetitive formula each track is based upon. You can expect the shift between heavy material and feathery interludes during most of the tunes here; it seems great at first, but the interest will be chipped after so many predictable intervals.
The replacement of Tomas Lindberg in the vocal category was a grueling task Nightrage had to face, but their decision to settle on Jimmie Strimell was a wise move for both band and singer. Strimell is a multi-talented vocalist; he can growl, scream, narrate, and sing while maintaining a sense of balance in his performance. The benefits of having a member that can alter various vocal positions is a key part in Nightrage’s progression during this album. The stable symmetry between the diversified vocal categories allows expansion of experimental qualities and different musical styles. Strimell's growls are low and powerful during heavier parts, yet the singer is able to covert his voice into a beautiful clean style during soft passages. Strimell can’t touch Lindberg’s masterful work on “Sweet Vengeance” or “Decent Into Chaos,” but he does do a great job filling in Nightrage’s vocal gaps throughout “A Disease Is Born.”
Though this isn’t a work of art, “A New Disease Is Born” is an important stage in Nightrage’s aging. With Gus G. and Tomas Lindberg gone, Nightrage must now live on without the experience of musicians that once helped this melodic death squad. The band’s past members have let go of Nightrage’s hand to force a mature upbringing, and the group is beginning to change; it's not quite the quality they aimed for, but things are looking up. Don’t they grow up fast?
Nightrage were fatally wounded. After the release of their second metal opus, Descending Into Chaos, the super group of melodic death metal lost two key members to the band. Gus G (guitars) left to concentrate on his power metal band, Firewind and Tomas Lindberg (vocals) left with creative differences. These two band members, already famous with previous bands, had brought the world’s attention to Nightrage. With them gone, what was going to happen to Nightrage?
As it turns out, having too many cooks in the kitchen can a bad thing. Leaving Marios Iliopoulos (guitars) to lead the band gave them a new beginning. Thusly the title, A New Disease Is Born, is very fitting for a band with a new line-up and a second chance at life.
Nightrage seems musically as tight as ever. This shows you the pure prowess of Marios as he continues his campaign for Nightrage. The guitars are more melodic then before with a lot of the guitar focus going to leads and melodies rather than heavy riffing or power chords. Don’t get me wrong, the guitars can crunch too. There are plenty of monster riffs in the mix but the songs are not created around them. The fret work is fast and the solo trade offs quick and painless with plenty of finesse. The dueling leads can create a full sound that most bands don’t incorporate. The melodic end to the album, “A New Disease is Born” is a perfect example of some of the emotion that the guitars have on this album.
The bass and drum work to keep the guitars from heading off into guitar melody space. The quick and riff filled bass work keeps the material grounded by giving the guitars a structure to come back to when they are off doing their melodic parts. The bass is well played (it gets a little hidden in the flurry of music) and it is nice to have a solid underlying layer. The drums are quick and diverse giving the album a little speed when it’s needed. The bass drumming is well recorded and not too loud like some death metal bands tend to do their albums. Nightrage keep the drums at a nice level so the listener is not bombarded.
A brand new vocalist always worries fans. Is the band going in a new direction? Are they going to stay the same? Well to spoil a little of the suspense, the new vocalist, Jimmie, sounds remarkable like the Tomas Lindberg at times. His death metal vocals aren’t quite as guttural and amazingly enough, he can sing! That’s right. He even does some melodic vocals at times on this album. They mostly appear in the first few songs on the album so if you aren’t a big fan so his singing voice, don’t give in too quick. They soon fade as the album progresses only making a few pops every once in a while. His vocals could use a tad more variety but they fit the sound of the band very well. They picked an amazing replacement and he nails the job on A New Disease is Born.
Lyrically, the album is a little more cohesive their previous Nightrage releases. Where the first albums had brief phrases in the lyrical area (in cryptic sounding messages), this album advances from that and gives the listener a little more of a flow to the lyrics. The choppiness is toned down quite a bit and fluidity is the additive.
A New Disease is Born is a great follow up to what could have easily been a train wreck. Two key members gone yet Nightrage may have just released their most complete album to date. Marios pulled the band through the storm with sheer will power (and some mighty powerful leads) and released one of the best melodic death metal albums of the year.
Songs to check out: Spiral, Scathing, A New Disease is Born.
In Flames used to be such a great band. They've got quite the catalogue of excellent albums, with releases such as the Gothenburg classic, The Jester Race, Clayman, Whoracle, and Colony. They had some pretty sweet album art (hell my desktop wallpaper is currently adorned with the cover of The Jester Race), but most of all, their music was consistent, full of melodic hooks and solos, and their vocalist wasn't completely annoying. Now, within the last few years all that has changed, both in terms of music and in quality. While Come Clarity was a definite improvement over blunders such as Soundtrack to My Escape and Reroute to Remain, the feeling that In Flames' career has literally gone up in flames is still present. Yet with that in mind, there is no reason to sulk over In Flames' fall from grace. After all, Dark Tranquillity is still going strong and there are dozens upon dozens of similar bands floating around. Nightrage is one of these bands. Formed in the year 2000 by the ever busy Gus G., the band had also once made use of former At the Gates vocalist Tomas Lindberg. But with the band's third full length release, A New Disease is Born, Nightrage were forced to say goodbye to both Gus and Tomas, who left for their own various reasons. Considering the talents of both members, their leaving would be quite a hefty loss, would it not? Well of course.
But if you're like me and haven't heard Nightrage before this album, then you wouldn't know how much either musician affected the band, either positively or negatively. But Judging by A New Disease is Born; fans of the band shouldn't worry too much, as this is still a pretty decent album. After all, when you're biggest, most obvious influence is Clayman era In Flames, how could it be anything but interesting? Yes, the musical path Nightrage chooses to take is one which I wish In Flames would have taken. The band manages to successfully combine catchiness and accessibility with heaviness, melody, skill, and precision. The opening track, Spiral should attest to this point well enough, with its heavy, relentlessly aggressive verse riffs and calmer, more melodic chorus and bridge work. The vocal efforts are quite similar as well, with new frontman Jimmie Strimell opening the song with a ferocious "ROOOOOOOAR!" His performance during also contains other various guttural shout and screams during the verses and clean vocals during the chorus. Seems pretty standard for this type of metal, hmm? I suppose so, but A New Disease is Born manages not to sound contrived and at times can actually get quite interesting. Similarly once again to In Flames, the soloing found on Nightrage's third album is quite tasteful and emotional. Whether they portray energetic aggression, sombreness, or a deep rage, they complete their task without sounding too over the top.
So where does A New Disease is Born falter, you ask? Quite similarly to Metalium's Chapter Six: Nothing to Undo, which I reviewed last week, the latest Nightrage album has no identity. Though a decent record itself, it pretty much sounds like every other Gothenburg album to be released over the past ten years. All of it; the riffs, drumming, screaming, song writing has been heard before, and for those who are getting tired of albums of such ilk will in all likelihood detest this release. In terms of weak tracks, A New Disease contains a couple, and while they don't drag down the album, they kind of ruin the momentum which some of the stronger tracks create. A Condemned Club is one of the weaker, more generic sounding songs on the album. Aside from Strimell's very (and I stress this) brief clean vocal appearance, there is nothing that one would deem interesting to hear. Another track which doesn't live up to its contemporaries is the album's title track. An instrumental, it is entirely built upon acoustic guitars. While some bands can make this work (Annhiliator, Dark Tranquillity) and other bands can create deep, mournful acoustic tracks (That may still have vocals to go along with the song) without sounding pretentious and sloppy (Into Eternity), Nightrage does not treat us to such a performance. Instead, we pretty much get what I just described; a sloppy, pretentious, boring instrumental without any real listening quality. Like I mentioned earlier, tracks such as these don't exactly ruin the album. But they do lessen the listening experience, and are rather pointless.
Along came the year 2007, and with it is Nightrage's third full length album. A typical Gothenburg release, it is home to some excellent tracks such as Spiritual Impulse and Silence, and unfortunately also home to weak filler material as well. If there was any record which sounded similar to A New Disease is Born, it would definitely be In Flames' Clayman, which should earn the album both praise and hate from those who have strong opinions of the genre. If have money and time to spare, and are a fan of In Flames or any other Gothenburg band really, big or small, then you might enjoy this album. If not, then don't waste your time with this. A Fair effort, but could stand to be more original.
(Originally written for Sputnikmusic)
Now there's two way to review this. The first as a new Nightrage fan, never having heard prior material. The second, is basing and judging it on those prior releases. I based it on the latter half merely because I was a big Nightrage fan before Gus G, and Tomas Linburg left the band.
What they did do is far exceed my expectations. I was expecting a watered down, boring shell of Nightrage. What you get is a completely different sound, with a band who lost two major members. My only real problem with this album is the clean vocals remind me greatly of American metalcore, and they lost some brutality. But honestly, who can complain? They have greatly proven me wrong.
The opener track, Spiral, starts off with a blast. a harsh scream, pounding drumming, catchy riff, everything you would expect from Nightragte, only it has a different sort of savvy to it. The track goes great until you hit the clean vocals. After one listen you might say "Ugh, I hope this does not continue." or you can say "Wow this is no Mikael Stanne or Tomas Englund, but it works well with the music." In the end I as long as it works well with the music, it should be there. After many listens I have to once again admit my faults, and say I was wrong. These clean vocals will infact grow on you. This song brings you the brutal and more power metal like melodic side of the newer Nightrage. This style is present in most of the album.
Another notable song is Scars of the Past. This song merges what I consider the older style Nightrage, and newer style. They have some of the brutal riffs and some of the new power metal type riffs. At one point they switch to acoustic and electric guitars with clean vocals which is a newer influence. But just like that they switch back to what could be a riff from Decent Into Chaos, again in an instant back the power metal type riff. The screaming on this song is again phenominal.
De-Fame is the direction I find the band going in completely. They still maintain what built them up, but the guitars are very melodic in this song with little throwback to past cds. Wether it's the leads or rhythm guitars they are mostly melodic with crunching here and there, This song is a little short, but still packs one hell of a punch.
The best thing about this album bar none is the drumming. I don't give credit to drummers enough but the drumming on this album is exceptional. Blast beats, double bass, you name it he does it. And it makes even the most melodic passages have some brutal touches to it.
This album might not be for all Nightrage fans, but it has a great chance to grow on you. Give it 4 or 5 listen before judging it.